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9/13/2004

Democrats making a mistake

John Kerry and his campaign are, in my opinon, making a big mistake by launching what they are calling "Operation Fortunate Son" over the weekend. The idea is to continue to question the service or lack thereof of George W Bush in the Air National Guard in the early 1970's. This is a mistake on so many levels.

First of all, it has already been proven that very few people care what young men did in the 60's and early 70's in regards to Viet Nam when they are selecting a President. Bill Clinton, an admitted draft dodger was elected twice, and Bush was elected in 2000 despite questions surrounding his service even then. The attacks launched on John Kerry by the Swift Boat Vets will, in the end, have very little effect on voters. Most people in America are trying to forget and/or move on from the Viet Nam war, and these two candidates and their supporters won't let it die.

More importantly though, these attacks miss the point. The point should be to get elected and this won't help in the short or long term. In recent years national politics has made the highly coveted suburban undecided voter the focus of the entire campaign. As a result both parties have tried to move to the center to appeal to these voters. In the process however, they have forgotten their base. This is especially true of the Democratic party (unfortunately). We should be forgetting about the reletively small number of suburban undecided voters and focus on the groups that tradionally vote Democratic but stopped voting because of this move to the center. In the case of younger voters in these traditional groups, many are not registerd at all. Instead of fighting a war about a 30 year old war, we should be focusing on getting African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans, women and lower and middle income families back involved in the process. These groups, in general, vote Democratic when they vote. The problem in recent years is that they have stopped voting. Instead of trying to figure out what motivates those suburban undecided (and it changes all the time), why not start talking about things that will motivate those groups mentioned above (which by the way is most of America) to register and vote as they traditionally do. It's easy. Here is what they care about:

1. More and better jobs
2. Affordable health care
3. Good public schools
4. Since most of our "volunteer" army comes from these groups they also want to know what our plan is in regards to finishing the job and bringing their sons and daughters home.

Here is what they don't care about:

1. Viet Nam
2. Viet Nam
3. Viet Nam
4. Viet Nam

By focusing on what Bush did or did not do 30 years ago gives the impression to these disallusioned Democrates that even if we win, they will be no better off, so what is the point?

This tactic will not help Kerry win (it may not hurt him, but it won't help) and even more importantly, it will not help those tradional Democrats to get mobilized again and be a force in coming elections.

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